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Will there be a writeup book for heroes?


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(I'm sure this questions been asked before but I'd rather not have to trawl through 10 years of forum posts.  Perhaps there's a FAQ I missed?)
 

One of the things I enjoy doing is reading the Villains books and thinking about how my PC would interact with them.  Of course, I'd like to know how the heroes would interact as well.  But the most I've seen are scattered write-ups in 5E books.  When are we going to see a write-up set of books for them?  There's so many all over the world; who would be good to recruit to a team or not?  etc.

(On a broader note, why haven't we had any new books in a decade?  I'm new here so common knowledge is still a mystery to me.)

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1 hour ago, AlgaeNymph said:

(I'm sure this questions been asked before but I'd rather not have to trawl through 10 years of forum posts.  Perhaps there's a FAQ I missed?)
 

One of the things I enjoy doing is reading the Villains books and thinking about how my PC would interact with them.  Of course, I'd like to know how the heroes would interact as well.  But the most I've seen are scattered write-ups in 5E books.  When are we going to see a write-up set of books for them?  There's so many all over the world; who would be good to recruit to a team or not?  etc.

(On a broader note, why haven't we had any new books in a decade?  I'm new here so common knowledge is still a mystery to me.)

 

 

As you note, the few heroes that are written up are scattered about various books.  Write-ups for Heroes have always been a bit short, from the earliest days of this game.

 

There are / were (were, I think being more appropriate in terms of "what has been" and "what is known to be coming") a few books: Champions of the North for 4e and one of the new editions.  Allies for 4e.  Books like that.  Actually, there were a lot more published adventures, etc, that included heroes in 4e than in any other edition.  The various organizations books contain a lot of agent info...

 

No; heroes don't get written up a lot.  Now I absolutely do _not_ know why, but I have long suspected it was because people will buy villain books to help populate their worlds, but they want to play their very own creations as heroes, suggesting that hero books might not sell well enough to pump them out regularly.  I disagree with that personally, because people will always want both examples of "how to" and benchmarks for what works well in the published setting and against the published villains.

 

As for why we haven't seen any new books?

 

Bluntly, unpleasantly, and with no joy do I say this:

 

HERO is dead.  It's pretty much just-- well, I don't really know how many people, but the two doing the most of the work are Dan Simon, who does the Hero Designer software and the tech support for it, and Jason Waters, who does, as best I can tell, everything else.  The vast bulk of the content released of late has been-- I hate to use this term, because all the 50 Shades fandom has made it a far dirtier thing in common parlance than I intend it to be here-- "fan-created" stuff.  Again: this is _not_ a slight to any of it!  it's on-topic, and everything I have sampled of it thus far has been well-worth a read.  In fact, Christopher's revamp of the Island of Doctor Destroyer should have been a company-published, printed-on-paper, honest-to-goodness HERO Games product.  Lord Liaden did "The Valley of the Night" years and years ago and tossed it onto the internet _for anyone_ , _for free_, and it, too, was wonderful.

 

Anyway:

 

Whether the problem is money, staffing, time, or interest, I cannot say, but the bulk of the problem is that HERO is, again, functionally dead, and has been for a while now.

 

Don't let that get you down, though:  companies-- small publishing companies in particular-- are a bit unusual when it comes to being dead.  Often, they can squeak out enough interest with a hibernation-level presence:  a small PDF here and there, a tie-in somewhere else....

 

And they don't stay dead, typically.  They might be dead for years, but there's always that chance that they will rouse again, if only for a little while, and shine for a while longer.  Hell, I'm sixty.  That's really all I need to last the rest of _my_ life anyway!   :lol:

 

And of course, someone else might come along with the right offer and the right backing, and the whole thing starts anew.  

 

ultimately, though: it's like any other game.  It's as alive as the fans, and we are still using it, so.....

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3 hours ago, AlgaeNymph said:

(I'm sure this questions been asked before but I'd rather not have to trawl through 10 years of forum posts.  Perhaps there's a FAQ I missed?)
 

One of the things I enjoy doing is reading the Villains books and thinking about how my PC would interact with them.  Of course, I'd like to know how the heroes would interact as well.  But the most I've seen are scattered write-ups in 5E books.  When are we going to see a write-up set of books for them?  There's so many all over the world; who would be good to recruit to a team or not?  etc.

(On a broader note, why haven't we had any new books in a decade?  I'm new here so common knowledge is still a mystery to me.)

 

As you say, 5E books have a smattering of NPC heroes in them drawn from the current official setting. If you like we could point out the books which have the most concentrations of them. But I can assure you that no book dedicated to them is planned from Hero Games (see below).

 

2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

No; heroes don't get written up a lot.  Now I absolutely do _not_ know why, but I have long suspected it was because people will buy villain books to help populate their worlds, but they want to play their very own creations as heroes, suggesting that hero books might not sell well enough to pump them out regularly.  I disagree with that personally, because people will always want both examples of "how to" and benchmarks for what works well in the published setting and against the published villains.

 

 

Various reps from Hero Games during the DOJ era, including Steve Long and Darren Watts, have repeatedly asserted that hero-based books don't sell nearly as well as villain books, and have offered the same rationale as you gave, Duke. So it looks like your instincts are on point.

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1 hour ago, Duke Bushido said:

Anyway:

 

Whether the problem is money, staffing, time, or interest, I cannot say, but the bulk of the problem is that HERO is, again, functionally dead, and has been for a while now.

 

Don't let that get you down, though:  companies-- small publishing companies in particular-- are a bit unusual when it comes to being dead.  Often, they can squeak out enough interest with a hibernation-level presence:  a small PDF here and there, a tie-in somewhere else....

 

And they don't stay dead, typically.  They might be dead for years, but there's always that chance that they will rouse again, if only for a little while, and shine for a while longer.  Hell, I'm sixty.  That's really all I need to last the rest of _my_ life anyway!   :lol:

 

And of course, someone else might come along with the right offer and the right backing, and the whole thing starts anew. 

 

I was around during the lean years between Hero Fourth Edition published by ICE, and the launch of the Fifth Edition line after the Hero IP acquisition by DOJ Inc. The game was considered functionally "dead" then, and your revival scenario is exactly what happened. The precedent is there.

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1 hour ago, Ninja-Bear said:

The is an old 4th ed book called Allies that would have Heroes in it.

 

Absolutely, and it's a pretty solid book IMO. Nice diversity of concepts, most of them unlikely to take too much spotlight away from PCs. None of them are from the current official setting, though. Several other 4E and 5E books include varying numbers of NPC heroes, although there have been no additional books dedicated to them since.

 

For the current official setting, the most concentrated sources of full write-ups, with complete background/history and 5E character sheets, are: Champions Universe: News Of The World, which details the rosters of the Sentinels, the Justice Squadron, Project Mongoose, and a few solo heroes, and updates the Champions with several years of experience from their initial publication in the 5E Champions genre book; and Champions Worldwide, providing a small sampling of heroes from each of multiple regions of the world.

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I found the published setting information in the format Champions Universe and such made it harder to GM in the the official setting.  Essentially it was like you asked for some information on an area because you were thinking on moving there and they plopped a complete set of the encyclopedia Britannica with 23 annuals in your lap and said "There you go!" ignoring the fact that they contain very little useful information for today. 

 

The books had a HUGE amount of content while players and especially GM's generally have very little time.  As a GM trying to use Hero sourcebooks you were faced with a choice, spend a year in intense study to try and not only absorb the mass of information but to also try and integrate your players concepts into it.  Not to mention that Hero books refused to establish any kind of rule "standard" for the settings. Or. You could just return them to the shelf and make your own.

 

The big lack IMO is that Hero never had any books that presented the information in small bite sized amounts that could allow a a GM to actually run it without taking a sabbatical to absorb the information.   In the last decade many of RPG companies have successfully addressed this, Pinnacle with their Plot Point system and WotC with their adventure books like Ghosts of Saltmarsh or Curse of Strahd.  Short concise chapters that contain everything a GM needs to play as is or expand on.  Setting, rule information/advice and a few adventures presented in a way that you can run them with minimum prep or use them as a base to build you own.  

 

I am working on an adventure for HoC, but I am not a professional writer and I really don't have vast amounts of free time.  Just grinding through what I have done so far has really upped my respect for the people that put out RPG product. 

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Oh: here's a fun thing to do, if you are just looking for backgeound heroes (and I know it works because I have seen it done by a handful of GMs over the years; it should work even better nowadays, if you and your players started with newer editions) is to pick up a coupl3 of the really early Enemies books and use the forgotten ones as background heroes.

 

Just a thought,

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Personally I love the detail of the setting, because I love immersing myself in a world. I always treated it as elaboration on a subject if I wanted to know about that subject. If I didn't I don't have to use it. If I want to play in Champions New York City I can learn enough about it in twenty minutes to use it from the Champions Universe setting book (assuming I already know something about real NYC, which today is very easy to find). If and when I want to bring in more elements they're there.

 

But from a marketing perspective I can appreciate the point Spence is making.

 

8 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

Oh: here's a fun thing to do, if you are just looking for backgeound heroes (and I know it works because I have seen it done by a handful of GMs over the years; it should work even better nowadays, if you and your players started with newer editions) is to pick up a coupl3 of the really early Enemies books and use the forgotten ones as background heroes.

 

Just a thought,

 

Or, even easier: read up on the heroes described but not statted in CU, find a villain character sheet that's close to their description, make a few tweaks, and you've got your NPC heroes.

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Saying hero is dead is an overstatement.  It has an active community, a very active forum, it has new materials constantly being released under the Community -Program every month.  Both Western Hero and the Island of Dr Destroyer will be released soon as official Hero products. 

 

The entire gaming community is in a bad place right now although companies like D&D have big corporations helping them out.  There are a lot of reasons but the main thing is that Hero is struggling but people are working hard to keep it going and producing new material constantly.  For the most part, if you want to see a product out there, then the thing to do is write it and put it out there yourself.

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2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

Personally I love the detail of the setting, because I love immersing myself in a world. I always treated it as elaboration on a subject if I wanted to know about that subject. If I didn't I don't have to use it. If I want to play in Champions New York City I can learn enough about it in twenty minutes to use it from the Champions Universe setting book (assuming I already know something about real NYC, which today is very easy to find). If and when I want to bring in more elements they're there.

 

But from a marketing perspective I can appreciate the point Spence is making.

 

Don't get me wrong, the detail is fantastic.  I understand your point about being able to use parts of CU adapted to real world settings.  But that is not using the CU.  That is taking a CU concept and moving it to a real world location. 

 

For Champions to take off they need people to want to play in their setting.  And right now that setting that has developed over 30+ years is simply too large to be ingested by a GM in a reasonable amount of time.  If you have been following along the all this time you can do it.  But if you are new to it, or returning after 10 or 20 years, the tomes have just too much info you will have to dig through.  

 

I use Hudson City as my fictional city of choice for two reasons.  I have been exposed to it since the first product released and it is one of the only "modern" fictional cities that actually has a map.  Not a high level generalized ten thousand foot view sketch of a map.  But an actual map with actual streets and actual street names.  I loved the concept of Vibora Bay, much more than Millennium City, but without a usable map it's utility as a game city is greatly reduced. 

 

So I use real world cities with Hudson City as the central stage.

For fantasy I have used the Forgotten Realms general setting and maps, but none of their events and magic system stuff.

 

Presenting the CU using smaller adventure oriented pieces that can be assimilated in a short time and run using CU villains in the CU setting would go a long way to making the CU something that GMs could find accessible and actually use.

1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

For the most part, if you want to see a product out there, then the thing to do is write it and put it out there yourself.

 

Working on it :winkgrin:

 

Though it is far more time intensive than simply preparing to run a campaign. 

 

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I can relate, Spence. I've been working on-and-off on a CU setting expansion that's turning out to be pretty substantial; but for that reason I want to get it to a state that folks would actually consider worth paying to read and use, and that calls for an investment in time and energy that's tough for me to make these days.

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Kingdom of Champions had a couple of hero groups and a few independent heroes set in Great Britain. I think that was for 4th edition.

 

Honestly as a player or GM, I'm not particularly looking for writeups of heroes. And when I do find a hero writeup at all, I change the name and complications and run him as a villain.

 

So even back when I had a measurable income, I wasn't interested in buying a book of heroes. At least not first-hand books, which is what the company is concerned about when making decisions of what to print. (On the other hand, I'll buy a lot of things second-hand which I wouldn't look at twice when new.)

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15 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Oh: here's a fun thing to do, if you are just looking for backgeound heroes (and I know it works because I have seen it done by a handful of GMs over the years; it should work even better nowadays, if you and your players started with newer editions) is to pick up a coupl3 of the really early Enemies books and use the forgotten ones as background heroes.

 

Just a thought,

I forgot to mention that in Champions 3e the characters had both a Hero and Villain write up. The backgrounds were really the same. What it came down to was how the character dealt with the defining circumstance of gaining powers. Did they use their powers for Good or Evil?

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Well. 

 

I have to say I wasn't expecting this many answers, and supportive ones at that.  I'm not sure how to reply to them beyond "that's useful, thanks!"  Which I just did here.  I will say that checking 4th and 3rd editions is something I haven't thought of on my own so I'll give that a try.

 

I'll keep lurking on this thread.  Preemptive thanks again.  : )

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There is a reason that the Hero System is nicknamed 'The Cockroach of Gaming'. But any game with people playing it is still alive.

 

As for the book of heroes, the only book totally dedicated to them was the 4ed book Allies. Beyond that the Champions Universe books (all editions of Champions Universe, Champions Worldwide, all editions of Champions of the North, 4ed Kingdom of Champions) all have that area's top heros in it as well as villains. 

 

I myself would like to see "Champions South Of The Border" (Mexico/South America) and "Champions Of The Rising Sun" (Japan).

 

Technically the national Chinese team is a superhero team, but finds many of there members show up in the Champions Villain Volume 3: Team Villains because of the classic Communist equals Villains idea from the Silver Age of comics.

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While not exactly what OP was requesting, there is always the Champions In 3D method (4e book about alternate realities) method.  One of the worlds in the books was Backworld, basically Earth-3 from DC.  The Champions and PRIMUS were evil and the normal Champions villains were the heroes, with changes to personality and such.  So there is always doing some What If with existing enemies to make new heroes.  

 

Although I assume the OP is looking for heroes as examples and idea generations, so that might not work as well.

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If you're looking for some ideas, that first link is to fan-created hero teams. Mostly they're not fully written up character sheets but there are some in there.

 

The second link is writeups for characters, I believe a mix of heroes and villains. The author also has her own website for some of her newer creations which she links to on the last pages of that thread.

 

The third link is to conversions of printed heroes, villains, and groups from other games such as Villains and Vigilantes into HERO.

 

Also if you want to go through the free downloads section of this website, there's a variety of material including conversions of Marvel and DC characters into HERO.

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On 11/28/2020 at 3:38 AM, Duke Bushido said:

As for why we haven't seen any new books?

 

Bluntly, unpleasantly, and with no joy do I say this:

 

HERO is dead. 

I don't come here often anymore if only because the level of activities seems to have shrunk quite a bit on the board to only a small group of die hards (hats off to you guys). Your comment made me look at Drivethru to see what HERO has made available over there over the years and it is quite frankly supporting your position. While there were hundreds of older edition supplements and magazines made available in the last few years (thanks Jason!) and a smattering of fan/independent produced offerings (thanks for the hard work everyone, and yes I include the Champions Now experiment in that bucket), the last true HERO publication (at least offered on Drivethru) seems to be Fantasy Complete in March 2015. Two. Thousand. Fifteen. Wow, time flies. Did not realised it had been that long.

 

On 11/28/2020 at 3:38 AM, Duke Bushido said:

 

Don't let that get you down, though:  companies-- small publishing companies in particular-- are a bit unusual when it comes to being dead.  Often, they can squeak out enough interest with a hibernation-level presence:  a small PDF here and there, a tie-in somewhere else....

 

And they don't stay dead, typically.  They might be dead for years, but there's always that chance that they will rouse again, if only for a little while, and shine for a while longer.  Hell, I'm sixty.  That's really all I need to last the rest of _my_ life anyway!   :lol:

 

And of course, someone else might come along with the right offer and the right backing, and the whole thing starts anew.

It happened before! Not everyone likes 5E, 5R, 6E or what Steve Long has done with HERO (I do) but there is no denying that DOJ ushered a revival undreamed of at the time. I am grateful for it.

On 11/28/2020 at 3:38 AM, Duke Bushido said:

ultimately, though: it's like any other game.  It's as alive as the fans, and we are still using it, so.....

Amen!

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13 hours ago, steriaca said:

Technically the national Chinese team is a superhero team, but finds many of there members show up in the Champions Villain Volume 3: Team Villains because of the classic Communist equals Villains idea from the Silver Age of comics.

 

Not so much "Communist equals Villains" -- I mean, how Communist is China these days -- as the Tiger Squad is the national government superteam of China. CU China is still based on real-world China, so a degree of rivalry with superheroes from other nations is likely, and even some activities which foreign heroes might deplore and oppose. Also, China drafts all its superhumans to serve the government in some way, so the Squad's members have a range of motivations. Some, like Graniteman, are outright villainous. (It's Champions Villains Volume Two: Villain Teams BTW.) ;)

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On 11/27/2020 at 11:59 PM, archer said:

Kingdom of Champions had a couple of hero groups and a few independent heroes set in Great Britain. I think that was for 4th edition.

 

 

Several of the heroes mentioned in Champions Universe for the current setting as members of the New Knights of the Round Table and the London Watch are essentially the same as the ones written up in KoC, so that would be one place to go for (4E) game stats for them.

 

Steve Long had always said DOJ wanted to publish an updated KoC, but couldn't find a writer with the combination of familiarity with the United Kingdom and with Hero System. At least not one they could afford. :(

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On 11/28/2020 at 8:39 AM, Christopher R Taylor said:

Saying hero is dead is an overstatement.  It has an active community, a very active forum, it has new materials constantly being released under the Community -Program every month. 

True. Hero Games is not super active though. At least not in a very visible way beyond announcing on the front page what the community program develops.

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Both Western Hero and the Island of Dr Destroyer will be released soon as official Hero products. 

Ah, did not know that! Glad to hear! 

I believe you are behind both projects (possibly the driving force behind them) so kudos to you. Will HERO republish/reformat the Island of the Destroyer you just made available?

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